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Kathy Marshack News

Research Study to Find Connection Between ASD and Birth Defects

Sunday, December 11, 2011


I recently received a message through the Asperger Syndrome: Partners and Family of Adults with ASD Meetup page from Marni Pasch, Executive Assistant of Birth Defects Research for Children Inc. After reading the message, I felt inclined to write about the effort that is being made to find out if there is a connection between Autism Spectrum Disorders and congenital defects.

Birth Defects Research for Children has sponsored the National Birth Defect Registry which is a program designed to look for connections between prenatal factors and birth defects both structural and functional. A study about ASD was released in 2009. Because of interesting trends in the study, BDRC plans to revisit the previous findings in 2012.

Here are some of the interesting findings taken directly from the 2009 BDRC Report:

• Over 60% of registry cases with ASDs also had structural birth defects. These were primarily Central Nervous System of Craniofacial Defects.
• Seven cases of ASDs reported chromosomal disorders. There were also two cases of Goldenhar Syndrome – Goldenhar Syndrome has been previously linked with Autism.
• 40% of ASD cases reported were associated developmental problems but not structural birth defects.
• 21 families who reported one child with an ASD had other children with birth defects. Seven families had two children with ASD (including one set of twins).
• In 12 cases, one parent served in the first Gulf War. In 13 cases, one parent was a Vietnam veteran.

Click here to read the entire study.

Only 137 cases were used in the 2009 research. With the upcoming study, researchers are looking for more participants. If you are a parent with an ASD child, I encourage you to investigate this research. The more case studies there are, the closer we may be to discovering meaningful research. Visit www.birthdefects.org for more information and to learn how you can participate.


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